The ongoing struggle against Fortuna Silver’s Trinidad/Cuzcatlán Mine in Oaxaca has taken another unfortunate turn. On June 16, 2012, a small group of men opened fire on crowd that was gathered by the Municipal Palace of San José del Progreso. A total of two people were injured during the unprovoked attack. This is the third such attack against mine opponents in San José del Progreso since January 2012.
The Oaxaca Collective in Defense of the Lands, an umbrella organization made up of prominent human rights and civil society organizations, has denounced the attack and reiterated international concerns about the safety of defenders in Oaxaca.
Once again members of the Coordinating Committee of United Peoples Of the Valley of Ocotlán (CPUVO) have been attacked by members of the municipal council de San José del Progreso, Ocotlán, Oaxaca. The attack took place on Saturday, June 16 at about 8:40 P.M.
Among the aggressors were Evaristo Gonzáles (alleged worker for the mining company Cuzcatlán and hired gun for the present municipal president), Edgar Vásquez Hernández (son of the municipal president who signed permissions for the mining company in the period from 2004-2007) and Aarón Pérez Vásquez (Deputy for the Works Councillor), who fired at members of CPUVO in front of the municipal building. In this latest assault Bertín Vásquez Ruiz and Guadalupe Andrés Vásquez Ruiz were gravely wounded.
From January to June of 2012 three attacks against the members of CPUVO took place in San José del Progreso, resulting in the assassination of two defenders of human rights: Bernardo Méndez Vásquez (January 18, 2012) and Bernardo Vásquez Sánchez (March 15, 2012), in addition to others wounded by gunshots: Abigail Vásquez Sánchez, Rosalinda Dionisio Canseco and Andrés Vásquez Sánchez. According to accusations by CPUVO, these assassinations were perpetrated by members of the municipal authority and employees of the mining company.
Since the beginning of the current year CPUVO has denounced the irregularities and violations caused by the mining company Cuzcatlán and the municipal authorities of San José del Progreso, nevertheless, up until this moment there has been no extensive reply on the part of the state government in reference to the problems.
Given these facts, the Oaxaca Collective in Defense of the Lands and the community of Capulalpam de Méndez declare their deep concern for the vulnerability in which defenders of human rights in the state of Oaxaca live, and demand effective attention on the part of the state government.
We demand that the Attorney General for Justice in the State of Oaxaca undertake a prompt, expeditious and impartial investigation of the most recent events provoked in San José del Progreso, and punish those responsible.
We demand that the Coordinating Committee for Attention to Human Rights of the Government of the State of Oaxaca design protocols for the protection and security of the men and women defenders human rights in the State of Oaxaca, principally in relation to the defense of Lands and Natural Resources.
We demand of the Congress of the State of Oaxaca a declaration of failed ability to govern in the municipality of San José del Progreso.
We declare our solidarity and aid for the Coordinating Committee of United Peoples Of the Valley of Ocotlán and their work in defense of the lands, which up until this moment has been legal, pacific and legitimate.
Because they are Our Source of Life, We Defend Our Lands
Oaxaca Collective in Defense of the Lands
Community of Capulalpam de Méndez
Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca
18th of June, 2012
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